Driving the Extra Mile for Kindness
Having driven a taxi for over a decade, Mr Justin Chua thought he had seen – and found – it all.
The 41-year-old's passengers have left behind everything from luggages to watches, handphones and keys.
In January, a relief driver delivered stunning news. A maroon wallet, which contained a $10,000 note, was left in the backseat during Mr Chua's shift.
“I was shocked. How was a wallet left behind? I didn't realise when I was cleaning the car,” he said.
He instructed the driver to return the wallet to operator ComfortDelGro, as it did not come with an identity card. The next day, Mr Chua realised that no one had claimed it. Two elderly women were last to hitch a ride.
“I was quite sad. I remembered the last customer so I went back to the place, (knocked) door to door and managed to find her,” he said.
“She was so happy that I found her. The look on her face was so bright, like a miracle,” Mr Chua added.
Speaking to The Straits Times, the wallet's owner, who only wanted to be known as Madam Lau said: “I could not sleep the whole night as I didn't know where my wallet was. It didn't occur to me that I had accidentally left it in the taxi.”
Mr Chua offered the women a ride back to ComfortDelGro, where they claimed the wallet.
“If somebody loses his money, he will be very sad. If you return someone money, both of you would be very happy. That's my philosophy,” he said.
The philosophy sits well with his wife, two daughters and neighbours. Good friends reached out to him after his kind deed made the news, Mr Chua said.
To applaud his honesty, ComfortDelGro will present Mr Chua and relief driver Richie Ong with the Thumbs Up Award. They will each receive a certificate and $100 cash.
“You don't need to start with big volunteering events. You can do easy things like helping the elderly cross the road. There is always a way that you can do something good,” Mr Chua said.
Over the years, he has gone the extra mile to return everything he finds. He accepts nothing in return. Not even a bottle of Yakult, Mr Chua said, that a customer once offered for returning a phone.
After her wallet was found, Madam Lau offered him a Chinese New Year dinner. Mr Chua declined. He quipped: “So she said when I need a taxi, I'll give you a call.”